Darjeeling, Sept. 25: The Trinamul Congress has decided to form a union for GTA employees within “the next four to five days”.
Sources said the move could be an attempt to break the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s stranglehold on the GTA, whose workers had stayed home throughout the duration of the statehood strike.
The Morcha-affiliated union, the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan, is the predominant union of the GTA employees.
Sharda Subba, the general secretary of the Trinamul Mahila Congress (hills), said a large number of GTA employees wanted to join the union.
“We have held meetings with GTA employees from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik and within the next four to five days they will be joining our party. We will form the union for the GTA employees soon.”
Subba said the future of the 6,500-odd GTA workers was insecure because of the lack of political will among the parties to regularise them.
“When Subash Ghisingh was at the helm, nothing was done to secure their (the workers’) future. Even the new party has done nothing. Only a handful of leaders have secured their future,” said Subba.
People who work in the GTA now were earlier recruited as casual workers by the DGHC.
Under the DGHC, their job contracts used to be renewed once every six months.
After the formation of the GTA in 2012, these workers were brought under a pay band with provisions for an annual increment. But these jobs are not state government jobs.
On retirement, the workers will be given a consolidated amount of Rs 1 lakh. The system of renewing the contract every six months was done away with.
Subba said: “As of now there are 3,472 vacant posts in the GTA but it requires political will to regularise the jobs, which sadly is lacking in the hills at the moment.”
Addressing the GTA employees on April 18, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung too had promised to regularise the jobs of these employees.
“We will soon form a sub-ordinate selection board and we will then regularise your jobs. Even now there are 3,472 vacant posts in the GTA but once the selection board is formed we will regularise all your jobs. You will, however, have to be patient as I am no god,” said Gurung.
Trinamul has announced the formation of its Sikkim unit in Gangtok, headed by former deputy chief minister P.T. Lucksom.